RightsCast

Digital Witness: Using Open Source Info for Human Rights Investigations (with Alexa Koenig and Sam Dubberley)

Digital Witness: Using Open Source Info for Human Rights Investigations (with Alexa Koenig and Sam Dubberley)

Modern technology - and the enhanced access it provides to information about human rights abuses - has the potential to revolutionise human rights reporting and documentation, as well as the pursuit of legal accountability. However, these new methods for information gathering and dissemination have also created significant challenges for investigators and researchers. The capture and dissemination of content often happens haphazardly, and for a variety of motivations. For this content to be of use to investigators it must be discovered, verified, and authenticated. These skills have therefore become critical for human rights organisations and human rights lawyers. This panel, marking the launch of Digital Witness - the first textbook dedicated to open source investigations - brings together leading experts in the open source movement, discussing what the future holds for the use of open source techniques in human rights investigations. Sam Dubberley, head of the Evidence Lab in Amnesty’s Crisis Response Programme, is joined by Yvonne Ng of WITNESS and Jeff Deutch of Syrian Archive to discuss the challenges of archiving social media content depicting human rights abuses, how this practice allows for the preservation of cultural memory, and how it might lead to justice for victims through legal mechanisms. Alexa Koenig, executive director of the Human Rights Center and a lecturer at UC Berkeley, is joined by Lindsay Freeman, Senior Legal Researcher at UC Berkeley, and Ella McPherson, Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of New Media and Digital Technology at the University of Cambridge, to discuss their hopes and fears for the future of open-source investigations. Digital Witness is the first book to cover the history, ethics, methods, and best-practice associated with open source research. It is intended to equip the next generation of lawyers, journalists, sociologists, data scientists, other human rights activists, and researchers with the cutting-edge skills needed to work in an increasingly digitized and information-saturated environment. For more information about Digital Witness and to purchase a copy, head to this link: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/digital-witness-9780198836070

Duration: 54 min

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